I’m a quiet, considered kind of person, I’m a writer, I like to take my time and think about everything I say. I’m not afraid of fast-paced: I can meet a deadline and crank out a story, but I’m not a phone-talker, you know? This week, however, I found myself way out of my comfort zone.… Read More The day my job was ‘astronaut support’
If you’re even a little scientific-minded, you’ve probably heard of the recent editing of human embryos by a team in China. It’s worth pointing out at the outset that the embryos were non-viable – they never could have been born. They were failed fertility treatments where an egg was fertilised by two sperm, a situation… Read More Human embryo editing: Attention is a good thing
It’s tempting to think of the ‘science that will transform our future’ as some kind of revolutionary technology, like the home robot servants we’ve long been promised or home-grown replacement organs. But I think it will be the fulfilment of already existing technologies…… Read More E.T.: Extra Transformative
I think we’re fascinated with our dreams because we believe they tell us something about ourselves. But while they may not predict the future or even tell us much about our personalities, new research shows that they do help us learn new skills, work through problems and overcome troubles. It’s this last bit that really got… Read More Depression and the dream therapist
Blink, blink, blink. The lights winked out in every major city of the world. ‘Knowledge is power’ they used to say, but he lived by the mantra ‘energy is power’. And this was his cathedral. While other civilisations faded and failed, he kept Reykjavik going by playing his harp.… Read More Energy
Things on my mind: Moving house. So much work at the Museum. LAVA!! Iceland is erupting. As I write, there is lava pouring out of the barren ground between Europe’s largest glacier and a volcano that erupted so powerfully in 1875 that it caused a mass emigration out of Iceland. But I had to check the… Read More The unpredictable fire-mountains of Iceland
Between lunch and the deep afternoon, I regularly take a walk in Hyde Park. Though the path and the trees are familiar enough to me, there is only one pair of animals I recognise. Where the Long Water and the path meet side-by-side and by height, a couple of coots have made a nest.… Read More A Feathery Tale
Today, the press are widely reporting on a paper about the extinction of the dinosaurs. Except, the vast majority are not reporting on the paper. They’re reporting on the speculation of the lead author. The BBC, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, etc are all reporting his version, which, to my understanding, does not actually follow the conclusions… Read More Were dinosaurs doing well or doomed to extinction?
I’ve been on a campaign since January to get back to my pre-Canada weight (damn North America your portions are too big). I have a few metrics for checking my progress: the numbers on the scales, which of my old clothes fit again, and Body Mass Index, BMI. Being an overweight woman, I read a… Read More I’m not an athlete, and BMI is still bollocks
There’s a tide of unwanted foreigners hitching a ride on ships to Britain. No, I haven’t gone over all Daily Mail; the invaders are Asian shore crabs. They’re a highly aggressive non-native species – well, they’re only five centimetres wide so they’re not going to take your finger off or anything, but they’re astonishingly quick… Read More Got crabs? Eat them!